can your charges be dismissed 2

How to Get Charges Dropped Before Your Court Date

The prospect of facing criminal charges can leave most people feeling unnerved. Even just the possibility of an accusation can drag you into an unfamiliar process where the parties seem to be speaking a foreign language, albeit one rooted in law. Having the proper legal representation can help ease some of the stress.

The Question of Getting Charges Dropped

One of the questions you may have is whether there’s a way to get the charges against you dropped and if it can be done quickly, preferably before your court date. Typically, the answer depends on the facts, laws, and evidence pertaining to each case. Still, the sooner you retain experienced counsel, the greater your chances of successfully getting charges dropped.

The Complexity of Convincing Prosecutors

The process of convincing prosecutors to drop charges can be complex. Attorney Case J. Darwin understands the factors involved and how to communicate the rationale for dropping charges before a court date. Here’s what you need to know about the process and what it means for your record.

Key Factors in Getting Criminal Charges Dropped

In most instances, prosecutors play the primary role in deciding whether charges should be brought against a defendant. To do so, they use the standard of “probable cause.” Law enforcement can arrest you if they believe there’s probable cause to suspect you have committed a crime. Prosecutors review the evidence to decide precisely what charges to file and initiate the case in court. A careful and detailed process begins when your case goes before a judge.

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The Challenges of Early Dismissal

Getting charges dropped before a court date is not as easy as one may expect. If the case is in the early stages, a prosecutor may be able to simply withdraw charges. But, if the case is too far along in the process, the prosecutor may need to provide reasons for the dismissal and seek the court’s permission to drop the case.

The Role of Evidence in Success

Success in getting charges dropped depends mainly on the evidence law enforcement has collected. You and your attorney will need to convince prosecutors that their view of the evidence and interpretation of the law is incorrect and that in the interest of justice, the case must be dismissed.

Remember that the prosecutor is considered an officer of the court and, as such, plays a role in ensuring justice is done. If presented with compelling reasons for a dismissal, prosecutors are ethically bound to act. If prosecutors disagree with you and your attorney’s views of the evidence, you may be able to make your case before the judge and obtain a dismissal. However, it will require a court hearing.

Reasons Why Charges Might Be Dropped

Our criminal justice system is built around a fundamental premise: To obtain a conviction, authorities must present evidence that proves a defendant guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If prosecutors are uncertain about whether they can meet that standard at any time during the case, they’re obligated to dismiss the charges. This applies to both felony and misdemeanor charges.

Factors Leading to Dismissal

Below are some of the factors that might lead to charges being dropped:

  • Your attorney presents witness accounts that contradict the official narrative of the case.
  • Witnesses change their stories or refuse to testify.
  • A judge determines that your case involves serious violations of your constitutional rights, such as subjecting you to an interrogation even after you’ve asked for a lawyer.
  • The defendant offers to cooperate and provide evidence that helps resolve other criminal matters.
  • Prosecutors determine that the defendant has a clean record and deserves a second chance.
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Can Charges Be Refiled?

Remember that dismissal may not mean the end of a case. Sometimes prosecutors decide to drop charges without prejudice, which in legal terms means they can be refiled if new evidence emerges. Conversely, dropping charges with prejudice means they cannot be refiled. A court can also order charges dismissed with or without prejudice. Typically, each situation is different.

The Impact on Your Record

The filing of criminal charges generates a public record that isn’t automatically erased even if charges are dropped, be it before or after a court date.

Under Nevada law, it’s up to you to ask the court to seal the records from public view. That means filing a petition with the court that heard the case. The petition typically covers records relating to your arrest and the proceedings leading up to the dismissal.


Facing criminal charges is undoubtedly a challenging situation, but understanding the process and your rights can make a significant difference. Seeking legal representation, especially early on, can greatly increase your chances of having charges dropped or reduced. Remember that every case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your situation.


  1. Can I get charges dropped on my own? While it’s possible, having legal representation significantly improves your chances due to their expertise in navigating the legal system.
  2. What if the evidence against me is strong? A skilled attorney can still explore legal strategies that might lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges.
  3. What’s the role of a prosecutor in dropping charges? Prosecutors play a critical role in deciding whether to pursue or drop charges based on the available evidence and legal considerations.
  4. Can I expunge my record if charges are dropped? Expungement eligibility varies by jurisdiction, but in many cases, charges that are dropped can be expunged from your record.
  5. What should I do if charges are refiled after being dropped? Consult with an attorney immediately to address the situation and protect your rights.
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